Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess is an animated television movie that premiered on November 18, 2012 on Disney Junior. It was the pilot for the animated series that premiered on January 11, 2013 starring the titular protagonist Sofia, and Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
Flora, Fauna and Merryweather appear and introduce Sofia, an eight year old girl living with her mother, Miranda. One day, Miranda and Sofia are called for a shoe fitting by King Roland II of Enchancia. It's love at first sight for Roland and Miranda. They soon marry, making Miranda Queen of Enchancia and Sofia the kingdom's second princess. Upon arriving at the castle, Sofia meets her new father, Baileywick the castle steward, Cedric the Royal Sorcerer and her new older siblings Princess Amber and Prince James. Sofia is warmly welcomed by everyone at the castle except Amber who is very rude towards her. At the dinner table, Roland tells his new daughter that there will be a Royal Ball in honor of her Royal Debut, stating that it's the best way to let everyone know that Princess Sofia has arrived.
Through a song, Sofia reveals her insecurities and her belief that she's not ready to be a princess because she knows being Royal has huge responsibilities and she knows she's untrained and inexperienced when it comes to fulfilling them. She finds her mother and tells her about her uneasy feelings and that she would rather not have a Royal Ball because she doesn't know how to dance and doesn't want to let anyone down. Miranda assures her she'll be fine. Roland, who has heard everything, comes out of the shadows and gives Sofia a beautiful necklace that he says is special and tells her she must promise to never take it off. Sofia happily accepts the gift and gives him her word to wear it all the time and never let it out of her sight. On the way back to bed, Sofia bumps into Cedric who for some reason recognizes her new necklace with such pleasure and greed.
The next day, Sofia, James, and Amber take a flying coach to the Royal Preparatory Academy. There she meets the Headmistresses Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Sofia asks them to teach her how to be a true princess by the day of her Royal Debut Ball. Through a song, they tell her that becoming a true princess is something that takes time. Everyone takes an instant shine to Princess Sofia. Amber convinces James to give Sofia a ride on the Enchanted Swing Set. James does so which makes everyone's smiles vanish. The swing ride sends Sofia sailing through the air and then into a fountain with a splash. Despite everyone's shock, Sofia laughs it off and walks away soaking wet.
Meanwhile, still drenched, Sofia stumbles across a baby bird who has fallen out of it's nest and helps it return to it's mother stating "There you go. Just the two of you. The way it should be." revealing how lonely she truly feels now that she's a princess and that she already misses the days when it was just her and her mother. Just then, Sofia's amulet begins to glow and the birds say "Thank you." After returning home, Cedric intercepts her and takes her to his workshop where he reveals to her that her necklace is the Amulet of Avalor, an enchanted object that contains powerful magic that can grant the wearer a blessing or a curse depending on a deed, for better of worse. He asks her to let him take a look at it but she refuses because she promised her father she would never take it off and was taught by her mother that when she makes a promise she must keep it no matter what.
The next morning, Sofia meets Clover, Mia, Robin and Whatnaught and discovers that she can understand what they're saying. Remembering what Cedric said about her amulet and helping that baby bird, she realizes the Amulet has given her the power to talk to animals which Clover is delighted to hear, since he has been meaning to say a few things to princesses. Through a song, Clover reveals the reason woodland creatures have always helped princesses is because they want food and Sofia, who's happy to finally have new friends, obliges. Now confident, Sofia now dedicates herself to becoming the best princess ever both to fulfill her responsibilities as one and to prove herself to everyone. However, Sofia remains distant from James and Amber because of the stunt they pulled the other day and she no longer trusts them. When she comes home the day before the Royal Ball, she finds her friends Ruby and Jade waiting for her. During the visit, James comes over to apologize for the trick he played on her and offers to make it up to her by helping her prepare for her ball which she accepts. He also tells her about Professor Popov's dance class the next day. Sofia arrives at dance class but before she can take some dance shoes Amber comes by and hands her a pair. Sofia steps forward to receive her dance lessons but when the music begins to play the shoes start making her dance goofilly. Sofia realizes the shoes are trick shoes and stops long enough to see a nasty look in Amber's eyes and realize that she tricked her again just before she's sent crashing to the ground. Amber states that she must have grabbed them by mistake but Sofia doesn't buy this as she knows Amber gave them to her on purpose and refuses to talk to her.
When she gets back home, she asks Cedric for a dancing spell. He gives her a spell but as soon as she leaves Cedric reveals the spell is actually a sleeping spell and after it's cast he plans to blackmail Sofia into handing over the amulet. Meanwhile, James angrily confronts Amber about the trick shoe incident, knowing that Amber deliberately gave Sofia those shoes so she could ruin Sofia's Royal Ball. Then, after angrily telling her that he likes Sofia more than Amber, he storms out leaving his twin upset. Amber tries to call him back but in the process rips her gown. When she goes looking for the maids she hears them in Sofia's room complementing her beauty calling her "the prettiest princess in the palace." which makes Amber run back into her room in tears.
Sofia arrives in a sparkling gown and everyone is amazed by how beautiful she looks. She casts the spell Cedric gave her and to her horror everyone falls asleep even Cedric. Thinking she must have said it wrong and that she's all alone, Sofia breaks down and cries. When a tear drops on the amulet it begins to glow summoning Cinderella. She explains to Sofia that whenever she is in trouble, her Amulet will summon a Princess like herself to help. Cinderella reveals that Amber is still awake and can help her but Sofia is still angry at her for all the nasty things she's done to her. However, through a song, Cinderella encourages Sofia to make peace with Amber and give her another chance before vanishing.
After seeing what has happened, Amber apologizes to Sofia for her behaviour and admits her jealousy. Sofia finally forgives her and the two of them reconcile and finally bond as true sisters. Together they find the counterspell, Sofia repairs Amber's gown and Amber gives her a dance lesson. Sofia casts the counterspell and the ball proceeds as if nothing has happened with Sofia dancing with her father, now calling him "Dad" instead of "Your Majesty" for the first time. The dance soon develops with the whole family dancing together, having finally become a true family.
As with many of the classic Disney movies, music plays an important role in Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess and the Sofia the First series. The movie features five original songs ranging in musical styles from contemporary pop in songs like "Rise and Shine" and ballads like "Not Ready To Be A Princess" to those with more of a traditional classic Disney feature film/Broadway style like "Royal Prep" performed by Fauna, Flora, Merryweather, and the students; "True Sisters" performed by Sofia and Cinderella; and "A Little Bit of Food," a fun, upbeat song performed by Clover and his fellow animals that uncovers the mystery of why woodland creatures have been hanging around princesses for years.
Home Video Release
- Ariel Winter as Sofia
- Sara Ramirez as Queen Miranda
- Wayne Brady as Clover
- Tim Gunn as Baileywick
- Darcy Rose Byrnes as Princess Amber
- Zach Callison as Prince James
- Travis Willingham as King Roland II
- Jess Harnell as Cedric the Sorcerer
- Ashley Eckstein as Mia
- Meghan Strange as Robin
- Barbara Dirickson as Flora
- Russi Taylor as Fauna
- Tress MacNeille as Merryweather
- Jennifer Hale as Cinderella
- Jim Cummings as Wormwood
- Fiona Bishop as Ruby Hanshaw
- Isabella Acres as Jade
- Alyson Stoner as Princess Mae
- Bailee Madison as Princess Penelope
- Maxim Knight as Prince Zandar
- Jennifer Hale, the voice of Cinderella, had to sing the song "True Sisters" due to Tami Tappan (Cinderella's singing voice) not being able to make the recording.
The special got the 5th most viewers for the week, with 5.151 million viewers, the highest for any Disney animated special since Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation! in 2009. It was #1 or #2 for several areas: Top cartoon, non-sports program, top 1 hour show, and top Disney show. It has the largest 2-5 crowd (1.5 million) since Atlantis Squarepants from 2007. It was also Kids 6-11 (1.6 million/6.7 rating), and was the #2 scripted cable TV telecast in Total Viewers (5.151 million). Notably, the movie became the #1 cable TV telecast in 5 years in preschoolers 2-5 and in 10 years in Girls 2-5 (954,000/12.2 rating). On IMDB, the special has a 6.3 rating from 225 users. It also had 1.4 million adults watching it.